Mental

Mental

135' 2008
dir.: Kazuhiro Soda

An amazing Japanese psychiatrist and his home clinic.

Mental illness has been taboo for centuries, not just in Japanese society. Wishing to peer behind the curtain the "healthy" use to separate themselves from the "ill," Kazuhiro Soda dedicates his second film to mental illness. The subject of his observation is an unusual place - the Chorale Okayama clinic. For several decades it has been run by Dr. Yamamoto Masatomo – an advocate of open psychiatry. His patients, although struggling with depression, schizophrenia or suicidal thoughts, try to somehow function outside the institutional context. Engaging in daily activities helps keep them within the community, e.g. working in a restaurant that serves both patients and staff. The homely atmosphere surprises no one here, as the clinic is located in Dr. Yamamoto's home, where he works practically as a volunteer, devoting every moment to his patients. He approaches each of them with respect and attention. Kazuhiro Soda started making this film without knowing anything about his characters, but his calm, kind gaze - a bit like that of the doctor - seems to penetrate to the very essence of their humanity. 

Konrad Wirkowski

Festivals
Miami IFF 2009 - Special Jury Mention
Hong Kong IFF 2009 - Outstanding Documentary
Visions du Réel 2009 - Inter-religious Jury Prize
Busan IFF 2008 - Best Documentary
Dubai IFF 2008 - Best Documentary
Berlinale 2008
135' 2008 Japan
Director
Kazuhiro Soda
Cinematography
Kazuhiro Soda
Editing
Kazuhiro Soda
Production
Laboratory X